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Joined: Jun 2013

About three weeks ago my 59 year old mom was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer.  She had surgery a few days later when the GYN Oncologist removed a basketball sized tumor as well as 4 others.  He believes he optimally debulked.  (not completely familiar with all of the terms) She did amazing after surgery.  She started working again almost immediately after surgery.  We visited the Medical oncologist today and they have decided to give her both IV and IP therapy of Taxol and Cisplatian starting in the next couple weeks.  My mom is extremely strong but I don't know how to help her.  She just has no emotions.  She isn't angry, sad just no emotion.  She just is not her herself and I don't know how to help her.  I don't know if she feels like she has to be strong for us so she is just hiding her emotions? She is not only my mom but also my best friend and I want her to lean on me.  I want her to put her fighting face on.  Looking for some advice on helping her and some insight on what to expect during chemo. 

Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1311
Joined: Jul 2012

Sorry about your mom's condition. She is obviously in shock and is still recovering from the news about her diagnosis and surgery. Of course she has emotions, everyone does; she just wants to keep them private and not scare you and the rest of the family. The best you can do is just be there for her, accompany her to the chemo appointments and help around the house, cook when she is not up to doing chores. You could suggest that she joins this discussion board, writes a blog, talks to the phychologist / social worker, goes to "Look Good Feel Better" workshop in your area or go pick out some wigs / hats with her before starting chemo - but don't push too hard; she needs time to adjust to the "new normal". When she feels like opening up about her feelings, she will.

I am sure you have been on the internet for the last 3 weeks researching all kinds of ovarian cancer statistics; try to stay positive and think twice before communicating what you read to her if you want to avoid unnecessary anxiety and depression.

It is good news that her surgery was performed by GYN-ONC and was optimal. Working 3 weeks after debulking however is not a good idea, especially if her work involves reaching, bending or lifting; it usually takes 6-8 weeks to fully recover from the major surgery. She should take it easy for a while if she does not want to pop the incision or end up with hernias.

IP / IV chemo is the best treatment option your mother can get with stage 3C and optimal debulking. It promises extended survival compared to IV chemo. She will need IP port implanted if it has not been done during her surgery. All people respond to chemo differently; usual side effects are: hair loss, fatigue, mouth sores, peripheral neuropathy, GI issues, low blood counts - she may or may not get some of these. Nausea and vomiting is minimal if her anti-emetics work properly. Weight gain is common from steroids. Chemo nurse and pharmacist will conduct training with her before starting chemo. She should drink a lot of fluids, do some light exercise or walk, rest, rinse her mouth, eat healthy, watch out for constipation, stay away from germs, etc.

Good luck!


lovesanimals's picture
Posts: 1364
Joined: Sep 2011

We have all learned that on the cancer journey, there are a roller-coaster of emotions.  I myself am not a mom but I bet your mom is feeling all kinds of emotions inside (fear, anxiety, sadness, anger) but does not want to scare you or be a burden on you.  As Alexandra said, the best thing you can do for her now is be there for her.  If you can't go with her to her doctor appointments and chemo sessions, someone she trusts should go with her.  A second pair of eyes and ears is always helpful, especially if she is still in shock from the diagnosis.

There are a number of potential side effects attached to every chemo drug.  The universal one is fatigue, but she may also experience loss of appetite and constipation, along with possibly some of the others that Alexandra mentioned.  No doubt your mom will have an appointment with a chemo nurse prior to the start of chemo, to go over potential side effects and what to do to relieve them.  

Please convey to your mom that she has every reason to be hopeful about the future.  My friend is a 10-year stage 3C ovarian cancer survivor.  In her particular case, she has had her share of chemo over the last 10 years but that has not stopped her from enjoying life.  She and her husband take at least three or four trips overseas and within the U.S. every year, and she spends lots of time with family and friends. 

Please come back anytime to talk.  Your mom of course is welcomed too, when she is ready.

Sending good wishes and prayers to you and your mom.




vanessamood's picture
Posts: 54
Joined: Apr 2012

  I am a ovarian cancer survivor. My daughter is my best friend and she was with me every step of he way..  What a blessing she was to me do not think I could have done it without her.  If possible visit with your mom every day. Just has to be a pop in.  Go to her appointments with her. If  you have kids let them visit their grandmom. It helps take the mind off problems. If this is impossible for you  make sure she has a friend to go with her to chemo.  It really helps to have someone there with you.  Let her know that she can show her emotions to you and you be strong  in front of her no matter how hard. God bless and let us know how things go.   Make sure she has a doctor that is kind and has her best interest at heart. Loved my doctor. He helped in so many ways.

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

How wonderful that your Mom has such a considerate daugther, who wants to do the best for her that she can.  Getting this diagnosis brings out emotions, or lack of, that we don't always expect.  In time your Mom will find a way to cope, her own way.  In the meantime, just being there for her and ready to listen is helpful.  You will know in time what to do.  Tell your Mom to visit us here.  She might find solace in putting her thoughts in black and white, and I know she'll find lots of shoulders to lean on, too.

As for you, give you self time to process all of this also.  This is a journey you can go on together, learn and grow together through it.  We're here for you and your Mom.  Hope to hear from you soon.

(((HUGS))) & Prayers,


Mwee's picture
Posts: 1341
Joined: Nov 2009

and welcome to you and your Mom to this board. I'm a seven year stage 3C survivor. You both need time to adjust to this kind of life altering event. We'll be there every step of the way.

                                                                   (((((HUGS))))))   Maria

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